Season 2     EPISODE 4
May 13, 2022

Good intentions are not enough | Itishree Behera

In an effort to ‘bring change’ to a school, a well-meaning young professional fails to consider the perspectives of one of the most important stakeholders—its teachers.

2 min read

Itishree Behera is a student of applied psychology and is passionate about applying theory to practice. She has worked as an adolescent counsellor and is interested in adolescent health and behaviour. In 2018, as part of the India Fellow Social Leadership Program, she served as a career counsellor with the Milaan Foundation at their school in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district. Currently, she works in the space of education and student counselling with the nonprofit ThinkZone in her home state of Odisha.

Excerpt:

“Being confident that the changes I had made would be effective, I did not say anything to them. I accepted the challenge. However, with the looming deadline, I shifted the pressure on to my students and expected them to perform better regardless of where they were on the learning curve. I started giving them more homework, asking them to attend extra classes, and much more. Almost immediately, I saw the students get less interested in learning. They also started rote learning again, which they saw as the quickest way to pass exams.

When the results came in, only 10 out of the 60 students in grade 6 had cleared their exams in all subjects—a clear indicator of my failure. Naturally, I couldn’t convince the school administration to continue the project, and ‘One Class One Teacher’ was shut [down] forever. My ideas clearly did not match with what the school wanted. From having bulletproof self-esteem, I was shattered because I could not show the results I had promised. I started doubting my ability to bring about change.”

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